EU Backs Plans to Halt Reckless Scrapping of Old Ships

By MarEx 2013-10-23 12:38:00

Plans agreed with EU ministers to end the scrapping of old EU-registered ships on third-country beaches and ensure they are recycled in EU-approved facilities worldwide instead were backed by the European Parliament on Tuesday. Beaching ships to scrap them jeopardizes workers' health, safety and the environment, say MEPs.

"I want to stress that this is not an attack against India, Bangladesh or Pakistan - the countries that currently practice beaching - but against the dangerous and highly polluting practice of beaching itself, said Carl Schlyter (Greens/EFA, SE), who steered the legislation through Parliament. "This regulation incentivizes these countries to make the necessary investments in proper ship recycling facilities - above all for the sake of safe and environmentally-sound jobs in their countries", he added. 

An EU list of ship-recycling facilities 

In future, EU-registered ships will have to be dismantled in EU-approved ship recycling facilities which must fulfill specific requirements, be certified and be regularly inspected. 

During the negotiations, Parliament strengthened the proposed requirements, inter alia by obliging ship-recycling businesses to operate in built structures, which must be "designed, constructed and be operated in a safe and environmentally sound manner". They must hold in hazardous materials throughout the recycling process and handle them and their waste only on impermeable floors with effective drainage. Waste quantities will have to be documented, and their treatment authorized only in waste treatment or recycling facilities 

Non-EU ships, as well as EU ones, will be covered by the regulation insofar as they will have to carry an inventory of hazardous materials when calling at EU ports. Enforcement measures, including penalties, are to be set by member states. 

The Commission will have to report on the feasibility of a financial instrument to facilitate safe and sound ship recycling and, if appropriate, present a legislative proposal within 3 years of the entry into force of the regulation. 

Next steps 

The regulation will apply to ships at the earliest 2 years and at the latest 5 years after its entry into force, the eventual date depending upon when the recycling capacity of facilities on the EU list exceeds a threshold of 2.5 million light displacement tonnes. 

The provisions on ship-recycling facilities will apply from 1 year after the regulation enters into force (i.e. 20 days after its publication). 

The draft legislation was approved by 591 votes to 47, with 32 abstentions.